Ever feel as though you are all alone, in waiting for the Lord to return? Do you attend a church that would rather give a seminar on the Ebola virus, than the Lord’s return? Ever feel as though you want to watch and wait, but then life takes over and you get caught up dealing with the problems and cares of this life? Ever feel as though you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to devote to spending time with God? Ever feel as though you don’t think you make a difference?
Well friend, if you’ve ever felt that way, you are not alone. Since my reconversion in 2007, I can honestly say, I’ve felt all the above on numerous occasions, for extended periods. I know it’s not any fun, and I know that in those moments, it seems unproductive, but let me share a quote with you from Winston Churchill:
“Mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them.”
Arguably, what has cemented my passion for the Bible all these years has been prophecy…even when I was drifting away from God. It was in those times that I often thought that the low points of my spiritual walk were simply self-inflicted products of my own faulty understanding and interpretation. Or that in my flesh, my relapses into former habits somehow kept knocking me down to new lows and I would never grow as a believer.
But even in my lowest of lows, I could never not be expectant of the Lord’s return. I just pushed it out of my mind and tried not to think about it. There were times when I even tried to think like other Christian’s, who didn’t seem to have that same awareness. Somehow if I could just get on board with the ‘flavor of the week” Christian movement, I could somehow be more productive and have more friends.
Besides, wasn’t I tired of always being labeled the “gloom and doomer?” My friends and family would ask me, “Why do you always focus on the negatives?” Or that “We aren’t called to sit around and just look up into the sky all day, we need to be busy doing the Lord’s work.” I’m accused of being obsessed about the Lord’s return, and that I am a “one-trick pony” always going on about the same subject. All I can say is, “Guilty as charged.” I might be a “gloom and doomer” but that’s only because the world is racing toward an eternal abyss, and where it is heading is no joy in that message.
My spiritual walk has oftentimes felt like one gigantic valley. It’s always uphill both ways, and I feel at times, incredibly isolated. I’ve attended two prophecy conferences in my life…one in 1991, and the other in 2009. I simply don’t have the time, money, or resources to ever go to the big ones…in part due to my job, and also due to my personal commitments. So if you’re out there and you feel alone, please don’t. I mean, you are in the physical sense temporarily alone, although you have a network of believers most of which you haven’t met on this side of the Rapture, but will rejoice all the more on the other side of it.
I believe that the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 not only speak to the individuals and congregations of John’s day, but also to the seven specific periods of time chronicling church history. There is one repeated phrase in each of the letters; look at what Jesus has to say to each church: “I know your works.”
Jesus is not unfamiliar with our struggles. Remember, it is He who is walking amongst the candle-stands, and it is He who holds the seven stars in His hands. He is intimately familiar with each of our struggles, and what we as a “corporate” body of believers go through in each day, and in each era. I also believe that the last four churches are in existence at the same time, and notice what He has to say to those faithful Philadelphian believers…
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:8-11, emphasis added).
Do the modern day, Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation dispensationalists feel like they have a lot of strength these days? Hardly. Look at America’s Pastor for instance; clearly a man who cares little for the prophetic word, yet, he’s made tens of millions of dollars off of books he’s written. His influence in the evangelical world is impressive…yet even he has little influence over significantly important geo-political matters.
How much less am I who writes online once a week? I can’t hold a conference and have thousands of people attend. I can’t write a book that sells millions of copies. Well, I mean I could if God had wanted me too, but that is not what I’m speaking to. God has allowed the weak and beggarly things (me) to continue on for a purpose.
God has placed me in this time in this place, for a specific purpose, and has allowed my life to turn out as such, that I would bring my unique set of circumstances and understandings to the public forum…not for my glory, but for His. I struggle at times, and I told Jack that every topic I wanted to write about, has already been written about six ways from Sunday.
He told me that that didn’t matter. What matters is that I write it from my perspective, which has never been written before. And so off I went, and now three years have passed and I don’t regret a single word I’ve put into print. Honestly, I don’t know the reach of what I write, and all I hope, is that I’ve helped get the message out that this age is coming to an end, and that our Lord is returning soon!
But guess what else? He’s done the same for you. The prophets of old and the apostles and the early church fathers, and everyone since then, has LONGED to see the days in which we live. To see Israel back in her land. To see the world coming about just as the Bible said it would. We live in exciting times and in this moment when our anticipation and excitement should be peaking, Satan is ramping up the pressure to keep us subdued, suppressed, and deflated.
He does this through work, through bills, through negative responses from friends and family, through distractions, through an oppressive culture that all but begs you to give up the faith, and come back to “reality.” Not to say that Satan has possessed friends and family along the way, but Satan greatest power in this age, is as an influencer, and the world is currently under his sway. So although we preach the truth and watch and wait, and anticipate the Lord’s return, Satan has a way of raining on our parades. But that’s okay, because we know how our story ends.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57:
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
John states that we who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ in this age, are already overcomers. While we are privileged to live in such an age, it does not come without a price. Although we know how it all ends, there is still the problem we face as we have to live out our faith in a world that is all but collapsing spiritually, mentally, and culturally around us.
We are called to endure and to wait upon the Lord’s perfect timing. Just like those who lived in Christ’s day did not understand what had to transpire, looking back, they can see God’s perfect plan unfolding in such a way that even Satan himself, could neither foresee, nor forestall, what was to take place.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:6-8).
So do as Christ instructed, hold up your heads and look for His soon return. For He will not delay one second longer than necessary, but will wait until that last person places their eternal destiny in His nail-scarred hands. Do not let the worries of this life get you down because eternity awaits, and the time we spent here will in comparison seem like a grain of sand on a road that stretches on forever.
“Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants” (Luke 12:37-38).
The Lord promises to those who wait for Him, that their reward will be great. Our reward will not just been in what comes after the Rapture, but also before the Rapture. We do not worry like the pagans about what tomorrow brings.
We do not worry about the current chaos that is quickly enveloping the world, because it is happening just like the Bible predicted. If anything, that should bolster our faith in God’s Word. We do not even worry about what comes after death…because we worship a risen Savior who conquered death, hell, and the grave.
So keep a watchful eye, and an expectant heart. And remember that this world is merely a dulled shadow of things much greater to come. Let our prayer be, that if the Lord tarries another 20 years, that we still be found faithful and expectant and ever mindful of our Lord’s warning…
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34).
Pete Garcia is an editor-at-large for The Omega Letter